My journey, like yours, starts and stops, ebbs and flows through good times and challenging times. Each step along our path leads us right to this moment....these are my steps that led me to you and connected our energy.
I would like to share with you my physical and emotional/spiritual journey to connection.
Interestingly enough both journeys involved confusion, pain, rehabilitation and perseverance.
My physical journey to health and strength began when I was 13years old; I was diagnosed with curvature of the lumbar spine which made me walk crooked when I sneezed my vertebrae would come out of alignment. Sounds pleasant right?! My doctor said protocol to correct my misaligned spine was an invasive surgery with rods and stuff...my immediate thoughts were "are you kidding me?? I will never be able to play baseball, ride horses, ski play volley ball....who will I be if I cant do what I love to do....no chance" with the tremendous support of my parents we went with plan B. There many manual health professionals to help fix Humpty Dumpty, and alas after a year of treatment my spine was straight and I didn't need surgery....PHEW.
Years later well into my adulthood my spine issues resurfaced.....and this is where my yoga journey began. It was after my second child was born and my body was a jelly fish (literally they called me Gumby). I was unstable on my feet, nothing felt strong or in control. I couldn't sit on an exercise ball without falling off. I needed stability and muscle control. Like many of you have shared with me, my doctor prescribed that I 'take up yoga' to help strengthen my back. At this point I'm sure you can see my eyes rolling. "Yoga?? really?? that is sooooo slow and boring, Im not slow and boring I need to be tough and lift weights and do hard hitting cardio", was my first reaction. Regardless I went, class after class I "did yoga" and felt foolish inside but I there was no way I was going to look foolish. This is where my over reacting and over dramatic/ruminating brain stepped in. I can do this ...just watch me. My postures were perfect, my breathing was precise and I kicked ass in yoga class...until Savasana, I ALWAYS left before that point. I could not for the life of me see the benefit of lying down and trying to be still. The truth was I couldn't slow down my brain and not think if I tried...LITERALLY.
This is where my emotional and mental journey to health and strength began. When I was 6 months pregnant with my first son I was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Think of a flurry of confusion, obsessions and ruminating thoughts raging through your body and head 24 hrs a day, 365 days a year my brain never turned off...so you can see why lying still in Savasana was a gong show for me. After years of just managing the affects of this disorder, not always well or gracefully I might add, I had learned to manage the affects of this disorder. I got pretty good at putting on a show....I've got this, totally in control and can do it all. This was 21 years ago. No one back then (LOL I speak like I'm old and those years were ancient times) spoke of meditation or breathing practices to calm the mind or body, it was just talk therapy or medication, at least that is what I was offered as help.
To recap, for years, physically I was cruising along with no significant changes in my back, just being reactive to weakness in my back and sought treatment when my body rendered me immobile. I continued to do what I thought I was supposed to do (and my ego demanded I do) to strengthen my body to support my back. Still 'doing yoga' and not really understanding the point whatsoever. However, no real control over my body, it just pretty much did what it wanted. Emotionally, I was cruising along managing and dealing with the affects of this disorder, applying what I knew to help when my brain had taken over leaving me immobile. Again, no real control or peace in my mind or emotionally. Sound familiar?
Then, it happened. My life was changed for ever. It was September 2010, my husband and I went to Maui & Kona in Hawaii for 11 days, and this is where I became mesmorized and overcome by the power and compassion of the practice of yoga. I had signed up for a yoga class on the beach. Immediately I thought 'cool how beautiful that will look'. When I got there it was just me and this male instructor, who I thought was in his 60's perhaps with very tanned skin, white hair and very lean. My egocentric brain at the time thought "hmmm, this should be interesting (umm not) and boring and hes old??" . The class was scheduled for 50min and was supposed to be filled with people. Neither happened the way it was planned. What happened for the next 2hrs blew my mind. Be began standing about 3 feet apart with him facing me directly staring into my eyes, not saying a word yet I felt as though he was speaking volumes to me.
Stop story....let me introduce the exact precise moment my spiritual journey began....
See before now I was living a very egocentric life. I don't mean egocentric as the dictionary definition describes as selfish and self centred, but a life where I was driven by my ego to be perfect, to live perfectly, to be the perfect friend/daughter/friend etc. I lived as if my purpose was to please others, be a camillion and be exactly what others needed and wanted to be and my self worth was driven and validated by this. Make sense? I doesn't make sense to me now as I sit here tying these words at 48yrs of age. This transferred into my 'practice' and all of my exercise regime, do the postures perfectly, look like I know what I am doing, be the best student.
For now I am going to call this man 'Micheal', I do not remember his name yet I will forever remember his energy. As Micheal was staring at me I felt my ego begin to quiver, afraid that this man was staring right into my soul, he would see that I am a fraud, that I don't really know what I am doing or have it all together like the facade I was showing him. Would you believe me if I told you we didn't speak more that 5 words, in 2 hours? Micheal said "let us begin..." and so we did. Without speaking without removing the gaze, we moved, we connected. I emulated his movements and he emulated mine. We flowed through intense moments in physical body and soft compassionate moments in emotional body. He took me onto this journey where my energy connected with his, my mind heard his thoughts, and my body flowed at the same rhythm and intensity as his did. For the first time in I can remember, I was not in control...of anything. Emotionally I released into tears (soft tears to ugly heavy tears) a few times and I felt this practice more deeply that I ever had felt anything. The physical practice wasn't about engaging my muscles to work and pushing my body in and out of perfect postures, it became a effortless symphony of movements that our bodies were feeling and executing all on their own. For the 2 hours I floated through time and space, through emotions that had been blocked and stored in body and heart for years, moving and releasing old energy, moving and welcoming in new energy....to be honest I was so dizzy and overwhelmed with what was happening I had lost complete track of where I was. True bliss of living and feeling the moment. I had never lived presently, FOR ME, before this very moment. I was humbled. I surrendered.
My experience with Micheal and that practice connected me to a different realm of space, time and energy within myself and with the universe around me. From that moment I knew that this type of connection is what I had been searching for, it saved me and gave me a purpose to help others from a healthy space, mentally emotionally and physically.
Over the past 10 years my practice was slow growing...it took a long time to BEGIN to untangle myself from that egocentric state of being. However, it is through teaching this practice that my healing truly happens. Guiding people on this journey of self reflection, self discipline, self discovery, self motivation and so much more I am blessed with the opportunity to learn more about myself as well. Teaching helps me express through movement and energy how I am feeling and to connect with other like minded/hearted souls that are on the same journey. So very often I catch myself hearing the words that I speak in class as I guide you through the practice, and they catch me, deeply sometimes and I am overwhelmed. Not because I am a profound speaker, hardly, but because I feel these words are meant for me at that moment as well. Each class each connection teaches me more about being healthy and happy, living my best life every day and with this I strive to share that with you.
I have never felt confident in speaking in front of anyone, ask my elementary/high school English teachers LOL. However, this practice is kind, compassionate, forgiving and nurturing and not about words but feeling and connection in your body. Until I learned to get my head out of my a** , believe in myself, love myself more, live empathetically, calm my brain and learn to listen to myself instead of others, I didn't really have anything to say. Now I go by feel, how my body is feeling, how my energy is feeling, follow my intuition in every aspect of my life. If something does not feel right its not meant for me, and I move along. That is how this practice has helped me lead you in practice.
It taught me how to help you connect with your inner strength, inner voice, connect them to the moment of feeling and sensation within, to release ourselves from ego and be directed by our body and the sensations/energy within. We are all energetic social beings on this earth to connect and share experience, to live in one harmonious place.
We are all connected whether we see/feel it or not. We all search for peace, love, connection, strength, openness, forgiveness, acceptance, healing, patience and purpose. When we can see that each day is like a yoga practice, a practice that begins with ourselves first and is one of compassion, patience, acceptance, love and light, we can begin living that truth. Learn to accept what is in that moment and let go of the ideal of what may or may not be. That is the true essence of the practice of yoga.
My journey of physical, emotional and spiritual growth is one of acceptance, compassion, letting go, patience, strength and self love. Some days this flows naturally and other days not so good....and that's OK.
One practice, one day at a time. Breathe. Connect. Let Go
I see you, I feel you, I welcome you.